Retinal Tears

“Cold” laser treatment for retinal tears  

The word “cryo,” derived from the Greek word for “frost,” has many derivatives. Cryotherapy involves exposing a body part to extremely cold temperatures for a short time with the goal of healing and restoring function. Proven effective for a host of physical maladies, cryotherapy is used extensively for the treatment of certain eye conditions.

At the office of The Retina Group of Washington, our team of professionals is skilled in the use of cryotherapy, also known as cryopexy, to repair tears or detachments of the retina and restore good vision for our patients.

Cryotherapy: a closer look

The process involves placing a very cold metal probe against the wall of the eye so that the eye’s layers are frozen — including the retina that lines the inside of the eye. Cryopexy creates an adhesive scar that seals the retina against the wall of the eye. The effect is similar to laser surgery, which is alternative form of treatment — but it uses cold instead of heat. Unlike laser, cryopexy can be used to form an adhesion that will hold the detached retina to the eye wall once the retina attaches. In this way, cryopexy is like glue where laser is more like a stapler.

Following the treatment, it takes cryopexy about a week to form a strong adhesion, so during the first week after cryopexy for a retinal tear, it is best to avoid jarring activity. After the procedure, vision may be blurred briefly, and the operated eye is usually red and swollen for some time. Cold compresses applied to the eyelid can help relieve some of the discomfort. Full healing usually takes about 14 days.

Committed to maintaining good eye health

At the office of The Retina Group of Washington, we’re dedicated to providing the highest quality of skilled and compassionate eye care. We we will perform a comprehensive eye examination to determine if cryopexy is the best treatment plan for you. For more information, give us a call today.